Braised Pork Belly Chinese Street Sandwich
Last week we came across this tidbit of goodness while having lunch at China Poblano. It was reminiscent of two things I make but never thought to put together. Chris and Maggie have been requesting it ever since that lunch. Make a bing, but don't fill it until after it's cooked. Braise some pork belly in soy sauce, wine and sugar and make a sandwich. It's so right, why had it not happened sooner?
For the dough:
3 1/4 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon grape seed oil
Dissolve the sugar in the water then add the yeast and stir gently. Let sit for about 10 minutes until the top is frothy. In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour and the salt. Stir to combine, then with the mixer on low, add the water mixture in a steady stream along with the oil. Knead the dough on low for about 5-6 minutes until the dough is well combined and smooth. If the dough does not come together well, you may need to add a bit more water. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. It should be wet to the touch, but not too sticky.
Take the dough out and knead with your hands until smooth. It should only take a minute or two. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp towel and let sit to rise for about 3 hours. If you are not yet ready to use the dough, cover and refrigerate it, and take out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using.
To make the bing sandwich buns:
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, about 2.75 ounces each. Roll each piece of dough into a 5-6 inch slightly oval disc. Use as much flour as you need to work the dough and keep the pieces you are not working with covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
Lay the discs on clean kitchen towels and cover them. Let sit to rise for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Cook the bings using a large cast iron skillet in batches. I cooked just what we were eating tonight and froze the rest.
Heat the skillet on medium-low. Put enough oil in the skillet to just coat the bottom. Place the bings in the skillet and fry each side until lightly browned. Cover the skillet with a lid as you fry each side. They will puff up a bit and you can press them down gently with a large spatula to help them fry evenly.
Keep the cooked ones warm in a warmed oven until ready to use.
1 1/2 pounds pork belly, trimmed of most fat, cut into large pieces
1 inch piece of ginger, cut into thick slices
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 ounce rock sugar
In a heavy dutch oven or pot, brown the pork belly in batches. Set aside.
Saute the onion, garlic and ginger until lightly browned.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot. Cover and simmer until pork is just tender, but not falling apart, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn and rotate the pork once or twice during this time to make for even cooking.
Remove the pork to a dish and cover until cool enough to handle.
Continue to cook the sauce by boiling it over medium high heat, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes. This will reduce and concentrate the sauce.
Cut the pork into small cubes, about 1/3 x 1/3 inch pieces.
Return the pork to the pot and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes or until pork is very tender. Drain the sauce from the pork. You can keep the sauce and use it again for another braising, use it to drizzle over rice, or discard it, the latter being of course the worst choice.
Cover and keep the pork warm.
To assemble sandwiches, slice it through the middle, making a little pocket in the bing. Be careful not to slice it all the way through. It is meant to hold and contain the pork like a pocket. Spoon some pork into the bing and garnish with sliced scallions and fresh cilantro leaves.
Super delicious, but a note on the bing. These were more doughy than what we had at China Poblano. Theirs might have been made with shortening ala a tortilla. These were really good, but not exactly the same. Still, I don't know that I would alter my recipe the next go around. All right... I might, just because I like to experiment. But I guess what I'm saying is thought not the same, these were just a good.